Tuesday, November 5, 2013

11/4-5: Dick Groat, Wee Tommy, Mike Dunne, John Grabow, Lefty, Manny-for-Chuck, Syd, Rod Scurry & John Russell...

Dick Groat, Wee Tommy, Mike Dunne, John Grabow, Lefty, Manny-for-Chuck, Syd, Rod Scurry and John Russell...

  • November 4, 1877 - “Wee Tommy” Leach was born in French Creek, NY. Leach hit 63 career homers; 49 were inside-the-park, which is still a NL record. During Leach's years in Pittsburgh (1900-12), the Pirates won the NL flag four times and World Series champions once. His 1903 triple was the first World Series hit. Leach is still in the top 100 all-time in stolen bases (361) and runs scored (1,355).
  • November 4, 1930 - SS Dick Groat was born in Wilkinsburg. The Swissvale Golden Flash HS star was a two sport ace, twice an All-America at Duke in basketball. He was selected as the Helms National Player of the Year in 1952 after averaging 25.2 points per game and played one season in the NBA. But he made a more permanent mark in baseball. As a Bucco bonus baby, he never played in the minors. He was the NL-MVP during the 1960 World Series campaign, and in his Pirate era (1952-62, with two years out for the service), he hit .286 and was a three-time All-Star. A Pitt basketball announcer, in 2011 Groat was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first man ever inducted into both the college basketball and college baseball halls of fame.
  • November 4, 1978 - LHP John Grabow was born in Arcadia, California. Grabow, a third round draft pick in 1997, pitched from 2003-09 for the Bucs until traded to the Cubs. In 390 Pirate appearances, he went 20-15-6/4.09.
  • November 4, 1987 - Padres catcher Benito Santiago was the unanimous selection as the NL Rookie of the Year‚ while Pirate RHP Mike Dunne (13-6, 3.03 ERA) finished second.
  • November 5, 1908 - LHP Ralph “Lefty” Birkofer was born in Cincinnati. Lefty worked for the Bucs from 1933-36 and went 31-26/4.04, mainly as a starter.
  • November 5, 1976 - The Pirates sent catcher Manny Sanguillen and $100,000 to Oakland to land manager Chuck Tanner. It was the second player-for-skipper deal in MLB history (excluding player/managers), the first being in 1967 when the Mets sent RHP Bill Denehy and cash to the Washington Senators in exchange for manager Gil Hodges.
  •  November 5, 1985 - The Pirates hired Syd Thrift as their GM, replacing Harding Peterson.
  • November 5, 1992 - Rod Scurry, one of the main figures of the infamous Coke trials in Pittsburgh during the eighties, died of a cocaine induced heart attack in Reno, Nevada. He was 36 years old.
  • November 5, 2007 - The Pirates named third base coach John Russell as manager, replacing Jim Tracy. The Bucs' new skipper was the 2006 International League Manager of the Year at Scranton.

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